Top ten “Glee” covers that rival the originals

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After a wildly successful first edition of cover rankings, I am back with a vengeance. So you thought I wasn’t objective; you wanted me to include your random soft-rock white man songs. Well, I reject these demands and say “NO!” I refuse to be influenced by gen-Xers (dad). This is why I am transporting you to another time and place: Lima, Ohio in the 2010s. That’s right, we’re doing the best “Glee” covers that are better than the originals. Why? Because. I. Can. And this time I am joined this time by fellow Gleek, General Editorial Assistant Amy Swartz. 

10) “Creep” (by Glee Cast) (Amy’s pick): Radiohead who? No, I’m serious, who are they? From my Gleek perspective, Rachel and Brody put them on the map. I listened to Radiohead’s original once well after Glee’s version, and that was one too many. Nothing can top the tension between Rachel and Brody as they sing their last goodbye, once they reveal their true selves– Brody being a prostitute, and Rachel still being hung up on Finn.

9) “Telephone” (by Glee Cast) (Katie’s pick): In the season two premiere, Rachel bursts onto the screen with this Lady Gaga hit. In the scene, Rachel is attempting to one-up new student Sunshine who she eventually sends to a crack house (girlboss moment). While Gaga’s rendition is iconic, Rachel and Sunshine bring a level of feisty competition that the original lacks. 

8) “Rose’s Turn” (AKA “Kurt’s Turn”) (by Glee Cast) (Katie’s pick): Wow, just wow. Golden Globe Winner Chris Colfer ate with this one. Came hungry, left full! The lyric changes, the passion, the energy; it’s all perfection. We only ranked this iconic moment in “Glee” history this low because, unfortunately, Colfer is a furry (joke!). Sorry Stephen Sondheim and Ethel Merman, you’re done. 

7) “It’s All Over” (by Glee cast) (Katie’s pick): One of the more dramatic moments in “Glee” history (and that’s saying a lot). In this song, Mercedes creates a fictional world in which she airs out her grievances against the rest of the cast. She’s sick of being pushed to the back and forced to sing one high note at the end of every song. And honestly, as she should! Along with Mercedes’ STUNNING vocals the period costume design puts it over the edge, making it both an amazing listen and watch. 

6) “Don’t Stop Believin’” (by Glee Cast) (Amy’s pick): “Glee” wouldn’t be “Glee” without this timeless Journey classic. Not only is it the most streamed song by the “Glee” cast, but it’s sung the most times out of any song on the show (seven!). It bookends the entire series, being sung in the first episode, and in the first part of the two-part finale. It’s what brings the New Directions together for the first time, grounds them throughout the series and eventually brings them back at the end.

5) “River Deep Mountain High” (by Glee Cast) (Amy’s pick): Let’s make it a trend to revamp 1960s title tracks to studio albums. The pure joy that completely enveloped me as I saw Mercedes and Santana not just sing together, but bond, will stay with me forever. Ike & Tina Turner meant for their song to take the stage once again in a show choir practice room. And I stand by it.

4) “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (by Glee Cast) (Amy’s pick): Thank goodness MeatLoaf sang the original version, because they gave plenty of room for the “Glee” cast to eat it up. Finn and Rachel take center stage with this performance, and lead the New Directions to their first EVER Nationals win! This performance lays it all out on stage, with Finn single-handedly carrying the New Directions on his back with this one. It’s their final song on the Nationals setlist, the one that seals the deal and secures the title of their “Glee” Golden Age. 

3) “Smooth Criminal” (by Glee Cast) (Katie’s pick): Annie are you okay? No, I’m sure she’s not after listening to this cover! Michael Jackson can not compete with the level of sexual tension that comes with this song (especially from two people who are not attracted to each other in the least). The dueling cellos, the pacing around the room, the eye daggers all contribute to the vibe that makes this cover so iconic. 

2) “Run Joey Run” (by Glee Cast) (Amy’s pick): The leather jackets. The three love interests. The tension. Who wins Rachel’s love? Finn, Puck, Jesse St. James, all vying for Rachel’s love and affection. I know nothing about David Geddes, but I can only assume that he would be beyond proud that his 1975 soft-rock hit would be reimagined into the single most memorable love rectangle of the new millennium. And the cameo by the infamous (or just famous) Sandy Ryerson? What could get better than this. 

1) “Bohemian Rhapsody” (by Glee Cast) (Katie’s pick): I think you all saw this coming. Freddie Mercury walked so Quinn could give birth. Jesse St. James (aka Johnathan Groff) delivers a PERFORMANCE with the New Direction’s top rival Vocal Adrenaline slaying behind him. In a Oscar-deserving cinematography moment, the action cuts back and forth between Jesse giving onstage and Quinn pushing a literal child (Beth) out of her body. As the music climaxes, Quinn’s baby crowns. Only the great mind of Ryan Murphy could have thought up such genius. 

We hope you enjoyed our truly objective, God-given rankings. Yes, God herself and Grilled Cheesus did whisper sweet nothings into our ears and told us this EXTREMELY objective ranking. It’s Campus Voices now, and the voices are speaking! Never let anyone shame you for being a Gleek. The Muhlenberg Weekly is a safe space for Gleeks in every capacity. Stay tuned for a possible “Glee” mashup ranking…

Katie is a Media & Communication and Political Science double major in the class of 2024. When she's not working on the paper you can find her blasting Taylor Swift, reading Jane Austen, or crying over Little Women (2019).

Amy Swartz ‘26 is an English & creative writing and political science double major. She is a General Editorial Assistant, and is thrilled to be a part of such an amazing organization! Outside of the Weekly, you can always find her reading a new book, updating her Spotify playlists, or rewatching an episode of New Girl!

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